Nicolas BACRI (b.1961)
Prelude and Fugue, op.91 (2004) [5:14]
Piano Sonata no.2, op.105 (2007/2008/2010) [11:19]
Diletto Classico: Trois Cahiers de Piano en Hommage aux Maîtres Baroques
et Classiques: (I. Suite Baroque, op.100 no.1 (2006-07) [9:57]; II. Diletto
Classico: Sonatina Classica, op.100 no.2 (2007) [5:43]; III. Diletto Classico:
Arioso Barocco e Fuga Monodica, op.100 no.3 (2006) [5:55])
Deux Esquisses Lyriques, op.103 (2006-07) [6:27]
Petit Prélude (1978) [0:53]
L'Enfance de l'Art - Sept Pièces de Jeunesse, op.69 no.1 (1976-79/2000-03)
Petites Variations sur un Thème Dodécaphonique, op.69 no.3 (1979)
Eliane Reyes (piano)
rec. Recital Studio B, Tihange, Belgium, May-June 2010. DDD
NAXOS 8.572530 [63:42]
This is a fine introduction to the piano music of the scandalously underrated
French composer Nicolas Bacri by Franco-Mexican pianist Eliane Reyes. Her first
solo recital for Naxos was released just over a year ago, spotlighting the music
of the Polish French composer Alexandre Tansman. That disc was marred a little
by recording hitches - ironically it was produced by Bacri! - but Reyes' contribution
was immaculate (review).
This time round, Elias' artistry and Bacri's listener-friendly originality combine
to produce a recital of considerable interest and broad appeal - and these are
all first recordings to boot.
Reyes' recital opens with the Prelude and Fugue op.91, dedicated to René
of a recent release of his music on Naxos), and a forceful homage to Bach. The
three-movement, twice-revised Second Piano Sonata follows, its dark, sombre
opening segueing into an initially ferocious scherzo, with no let-up for the
pianist's fingers in the pell-mell finale. Atonality is never far away in Bacri's
music, but nor is tonality, and the overall soundscape of the Sonata is one
that Prokofiev and Shostakovich would recognise - and likely admire.
The most openly modernistic works are the Short Variations on a Dodecaphonic
Theme and The Childhood of Art, both early flirtations with Schoenbergian principles,
but even here the gentleness and lyricism of Bacri's music - the latter work,
for example, contains four dreamy Nocturnes - is unlikely to offend any but
the most delicate of ears.
Fast forward twenty years and Bacri was writing the Two Lyric Sketches, nostalgic,
intimate pieces à la Grieg that are as lovely as they are 'anachronistic',
and the unusual but genial Classical Delight, three self-standing works within
a work 'in Homage to the Baroque and Classical Masters'. These are not
anachronisms, but more akin to new translations of old works. Thus there is
some atonal Baroque and jazzy Classicism along the way as Bacri pays tribute
not only to his favourite composers from earlier centuries, but also to Prokofiev
Reyes gives an elegant, sensitive and technically assured account of Bacri's
works, most of which she premiered. Perhaps the fact that she did not premiere
op.69 no.2 explains its otherwise odd absence from the programme - at
six minutes in length it would have easily fitted on the disc.
As previously mentioned, sound quality is good, though there are a few minor
technical anomalies, mainly, but not entirely, confined to L'Enfance de l'Art
- odd squeaks in the final movement, the suspicion of one or two editing joins
in other sections. The CD booklet offers nothing fancy and the notes are typically
densely printed, but they are informative and well written, and there is also
a nice photo of Reyes and Bacri together.
In sum, this is an ideal disc for anyone looking for a benign introduction to
contemporary/atonal music, and a raspberry to those who claim that new music
is all tuneless, shapeless dreck.
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk
A raspberry to those who claim that new music is all tuneless, shapeless dreck.